Los Angeles News
Sylmar softball coach allegedly involved in sex club
LOS ANGELES -- A volunteer softball coach at a Catholic elementary school in Sylmar was in court Thursday, accused of sexually abusing a young female student. But there is also a murder mystery in the coach's past.
Epifanio Nevarez, also known as Pete to friends, was arrested on March 4 and faces four felony counts, accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl from St. Didacus School. A judge denied a request to lower his bail.
His accuser says she first met him last August at the school. In court, there was a heated confrontation between supporters of Nevarez and the alleged victim's family.
"They clearly believe that he's innocent. We clearly believe that he's guilty. I believe 110 percent what my sister says he has done to her, and we're just praying for justice," the victim's sister said.
According to the family, the sexual acts took place after school at Nevarez's Canyon Country home and involved at least one other young girl.
"She told me that the defendant was involved in a sex club, and that they asked her to participate. At first she said no, and the defendant kept pursuing her, and so that's how she got involved in it and that's why she says there are other victims," the victim's sister said.
At St. Didacus, school administrators say they left a voice message for parents two days after Nevarez's arrest that said, "We have been working with the sheriff's office and the archdiocese ... It is my understanding that the misconduct occurred within the last year. Please rest assured that we will be working with our school community to provide support and outreach as we move forward."
The L.A. archdiocese said because Nevarez was a volunteer, a background check was not done because he would not be supervising children alone.
The 58-year-old Nevarez is being held on $400,000 bail. A parents meeting will be held at St. Didacus to discuss Nevarez's arrest in the sexual abuse case.
Nevarez has been under the scrutiny of police before. He was questioned by authorities in 2007 in connection to the death of his first wife, Sandra Nevarez, who disappeared from a Laundromat in Sylmar Jan. 17, 1995. Remains were found on Nov. 21, 1996, and they were just positively identified through DNA in December 2012. Her death was ruled a homicide, with the cause of death being sharp force trauma and other factors.
Nevarez was never charged in his wife's death.
A meeting for parents about Nevarez's arrest was held Thursday night. None of the parents gave any comment.
homicide investigation, arrest, sex crimes, san fernando valley, los angeles news
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